Cut it off!

I have hair that does its job and is relatively healthy. The problem is, however, that I hate to do my hair and loathe storing hair stuff. In high school, I had naturally curly locks, which I’d style with my fingers and head out the door with a wet head. This carefree system doesn’t work any longer since my natural curls are totally gone in some places, only waves in other locations, and curly still around my temples. Now, to keep from looking like an unkempt eccentric with combination curly-wavy-straight hair, I have to do it.

For most of my non-curly adult life, I have worn my hair long and just thrown it into a ponytail. Wearing a ponytail has one big disadvantage, though, which is the headache. No matter how loosely or tightly you wear your ponytail, you’ll eventually get a ponytail headache from oddly pulling a single hair into the ponytail holder. Also, a second disadvantage is that you can’t change your mind about your ponytail mid-day because you have that strange crease in your hair. Another big disadvantage is all of the styling stuff you have to keep for those rare days when it’s inappropriate to wear a ponytail.

This week, I decided I’d had enough and I cut my hair off super short. I don’t mean Susan Powter circa 1993 short. It’s more like Victoria Beckham’s short do. And, so far, it’s proven to be quite a drastic and improved change: less shampoo, less drying time, and less styling time.

I still need a hairdryer and a brush, but gone is my need for rollers, curling irons, straightening irons, conditioner, ponytail holders, barrettes, bobby pins, headbands, and hairspray. Cutting my hair literally freed half of my need for storage space in the bathroom.

My hairdryer, single canister of styling gel, and brush now live in an unused flower pot under my sink. I don’t need anything else. Three hair doodads, and that’s it. So, if you’re looking to get rid of some of your bathroom clutter and time involved with doing your hair, consider cutting your hair short. If you have naturally curly or straight hair, you might even be able to get rid of your hairdryer (and, I might secretly envy you). You’ll save money by buying less shampoo and styling gel, and you may even be able to get by without conditioner. Short hair is definitely an uncluttered solution.

77 Comments for “Cut it off!”

  1. posted by Kris on

    I went the other way with this. I grew my hair out. I shower, comb it out, put it in a ponytail and go. I only blow dry it if I’m going somewhere special, which is probably once or twice a month. No gels, no hairspray, nothing. I’m lucky in that if I braid it while it’s wet, I can take it out later and it’s wavy and looks terrific. I’m fortunate that I don’t get those ponytail headaches.

    I agree that hair ‘stuff’ is some of the worst clutter of all.

  2. posted by KathyHowe on

    I have had short hair for awhile now and love it! It is a huge time-saver because it is SO EASY to do!

  3. posted by justelise on

    Some of the advice on this blog is just bizarre. Drastically altering one’s appearance for the sake of removing a few things from your bathroom counter is too much to ask most people, and it’s arguable that in this case it wasn’t necessary.

    As an alternative you could’ve gone to the salon and had an application of anti-curl. I have seen that even out the curly/wavy/frizzy hair on people who used to have naturally curly hair which has since gone south. It does work on certain hair types, and could’ve evened out your hair to either straight or wavy. Alternatively, you could’ve invested in one high quality hair straightener that can straighten and dry damp hair in one step. Lots of people rave about the Chi irons, and it could’ve allowed you to even out the texture of your hair, straighten it, and dry it in one step. That’s gotta be an improvement from dryer+brush-> style.

    Not everyone can carry a short do, and there are a lot of women who work hard to grow out their hair and keep it healthy, so asking them to cut it off would come off as pure comedy. I’m sure there are a lot of women who have done this in the past and been forced to grow their hair back out because short hair is also much harder to control for most people.

  4. posted by jane on

    Maybe you should care less about what people think of your appearance and learn to be okay with your wavy-straight-curly hair.

  5. posted by robin on

    I agree some of the advice here is a bit extreme and weird, but whatever.

    You may save money on shampoo. But I use more product now with short hair than I did with long hair. And I get it cut about 3x more often (6x a year vs. 2x a year) which, given the cost of hair salons in our high-cost-of-living area, is definitely not saving me money!

  6. posted by sara on

    Not a weird subject at all, in my opinion. Hair can be a big pain in the butt. I have thick, wavy hair and I would love to have it short, but it seems too unruly. At least when it’s long, I have the ponytail option. Can we see a picture of your haircut?

  7. posted by Janet Miles on

    I’m going to respectfully disagree with this suggestion, at least for myself. My hair is straight, which probably makes it easier, but here are the differences (for me).

    Short hair
    1. Get it cut and permed every six weeks
    2. Shampoo
    3. Cream rinse / conditioner
    4. Hair brush
    5. Separate hair brush to use with the blow dryer
    6. Blow dryer
    7. Hot rollers
    8. Curling iron
    9. Hair spray
    10. Clips (multiple)
    11. Barrettes (multiple)
    12. Bobby pins (lots)

    Total time spent each morning fussing with it: at least half an hour.

    Long hair
    1. Don’t cut it (seriously; haven’t had it cut in at least 17 years and probably closer to 20)
    2. Shampoo
    3. Cream rinse / conditioner
    4. Brush
    5. Hair stick (one — I used to use a pen until a friend gave me the stick)
    6. Barrette (one, for formal use when I braid my hair and put it up)

    Total time spent each morning fussing with it: approximately five minutes

  8. posted by Tim on

    I think the issue is not how much space is taken up with hair care products but how much TIME is wasted in dealing with your hair – not just in the morning but as the day goes on.

    I have always had a receding hair line so a few years back I just decided to shave my head. I love it. It takes about the same time for me to shave my head as it would to “do” my hair but I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day. Raining? So what. Windy? So what. Plus if I am running late one morning I can skip shaving it for a day and it looks just the same.

  9. posted by Karen on

    I have straight hair, and for me, having long hair is easier than having short hair, because I don’t have to get it cut as often. When I had short hair, I had to get it cut every 4-6 weeks, or my hair would look very ragged and hang in my eyes. That was much more time consuming for me, since I had to go out to Supercuts on Saturday, or during my lunch hour. With long hair, I may have to spend a little more time on my hair at home, but I only get my hair cut a couple of times a year. That’s a big time saver for me.

    I don’t know if this would work for very curly hair, but for straight hair with a simple cut, having long hair can be a time saver. (I leave my hair to dry naturally, and either pull it back with a clip or just leave it hanging. So it doesn’t take a lot of time or space.)

  10. posted by Debbie M on

    justelise, this post is about simplifying her life, too–it sounds like her new hairdo takes up less time and energy as well as space, and she seems to like the look just as well.

    I’m like Kris, only I never blow-dry my hair and braiding it wet is not a great idea. Also, I use a barrette in addition to the ponytail holder, or I just use a barrette.

    I have shampoo, conditioner, a tube of goo, a basket of hair scrunchies, and a couple of barrettes. Oh, and hair sticks I have been given but have not yet figured out how to use.

    Only gravity can control my hair. When I had the front short, it always curled into my eyeballs, no matter what I did. (Although I could have cut it shorter so that it couldn’t reach my eyeballs. Actually I know two people with hair like mine who just keep their hair so short that there is a limit to how out-of-control it can get, but I really like long hair.)

    The other reasons I keep it long are that I can ask random people to trim it for free and that people think of me as that person with long hair and not that person who’s so skinny they want to kill me. Seriously, people’s jealousy at my currently in-vogue naturally scrawny frame came out a lot more when I had ordinary-length hair. It was creepy and I still fear it though I am 25% heavier now.

    Yep, there are a lot of issues attached to hair. I once met someone who got his hairstyle by cutting off his ponytail to use for some art he was making.

    One day when my hair is too thin and/or fragile to grow long anymore, I’ll have to find something short. I suspect I will wonder why I never did it before.

  11. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Jane — This is one of those times when the internet is not so great at conveying a tone of intent. If you knew me in real life, you would laugh until your sides ached at your assumption about me. I am far from glamorous. My goal on any given day is to not offend someone with my appearance, not impress them.

  12. posted by Lori on

    Most people I know (myself included) need far more hair goo and styling time to maintain a short haircut than a long one.

  13. posted by molly on

    If only I had the bone structure and the nerve, I would totally shave my head like Sinead O’Connor. Talk about clutter free!

  14. posted by John in Indiana on

    I know this is just my opinion, but to me, when a woman cuts her hair, it’s a sign that she’s given up on being feminine.

    But I hear ya! If I could get rid of these useless hairs on the lower part of my face, I’d be happier, too…

  15. posted by Karen on

    To avoid the ponytail headache, use a French braid. Everyone thinks it’s hard to French braid your own hair, but it’s not. (Perhaps it would be if you have arthritis in your shoulders–you have to hold your arms up for a couple minutes–but that’s true of other hair styles, too.) A French braid feels great on the head and works even at a slightly shorter length than a ponytail, depending on your hair texture. If you make it just a tiny bit loose (actually easier than pulling it really tight), the curly hairs will make a ripple across your head. Very pretty, if I do say so myself! And, very little clutter–brush, ponytail holder.

    Justelise, one person’s bizarre is another’s “Why didn’t I think of this years ago!”

  16. posted by Hilarie on

    I shaved my head last October because I was sick of the fuss and clutter of hair. It IS very time consuming to look classy and “done” with long hair. It is hysterical to me that there are women who think that wearing your hair long and down is attractive. It looks so un-done and unpolished to me. Having a real stylish haircut is where it’s at.

    The idea that cutting your hair means you’ve “given up on being feminine” is so absurd. Mia Farrow anyone? Alternatively, Axl Rose and Glen Danzig? Not the most feminine humans I can think of. πŸ™‚

  17. posted by Tina on

    “My goal on any given day is to not offend someone with my appearance, not impress them.”

    That statement might speak to an unfortunate self-perception, if you think you’re offending anyone just by walking around, or need to modify your looks just to go out.

    I say look the way you feel comfy. As has been stated here many times, the goal isn’t asceticism, but rather being comfortable in your own skin, and your own environment. I found that long hair was easier to maintain than short styles, with the exception that it takes longer to air dry. But that’s just me.

  18. posted by James on

    You should have posted a photo.

    Most women cannot pull off short hair and yet try anyway. At least that’s the opinion of this guy and pretty much all the guys I regularly hung out with in college. The topic came up far more than one would have expected.

    A guy with short hair who can totally relate to the thoughts behind this post.

  19. posted by teri on

    i agree with those who said shorter hair requires more trips to the stylist. when my hair is longer it is less noticable that i haven’t had time to get it cut. however, so much depends on your hair type. some people look terrific with long hair…or short hair. curly hair requires different maintenance than straight hair. i took many years for me to find a style that works for me. once in a while, i would be seduced by a new style. invaraibly, it didn’t work and i would spend the next year “growing it out.” i am older and hopefully wiser now. i stick with what works for me and don’t worry about the trends too much.

  20. posted by Tim on

    I know a LOT of women that have short hair that have “feminine” coming out of their ears.

    Ladies, wear that hair the way you want and know that the people that count find it beautiful. I speak the truth.

  21. posted by Corinne on

    @ John in Indiana – are you kidding me?!?!?! Cutting our hair means we’ve given up being feminine?!?! Gee, and I thought a uterus had SOMETHING to do with it. Talk about offensive. You might want to try moving out of the stone ages sometime this millenium. I suppose if we wear pants, that’s “un-feminine” as well.

    Get over yourself.

  22. posted by MissPrism on

    I used to have hair almost to my waist, and cutting it (in stages – I wasn’t that brave) to a short bob felt really liberating. Less time, less effort, better condition and none of that hiding-behind-a-curtain awkward feeling.

    But OH NOES! Some blokes on the internet think I am unfenimine and might not be able to pull off the look! This worries me intensely!

  23. posted by radish on

    I think it’s a matter of gaining in one area and losing in another – nothing comes free. When I had my hair short, I used less shampoo/conditioner per use, but i used more of it overall because i had to wash my hair every day. I used gel to give it some definition and that was all the styling I would do – took about 30 seconds to style per day. HUGE time-saver. At the same time, the short do was a drain on the wallet – my hair grows fast and I had to get trims every 4 weeks. So the time wasted in the salon chair, added to washing hair every day added to using more shampoo/conditioner added up. Now, my hair is medium-long and I wash it every five days if not once a week. It takes me 30 minutes to style via a blow-drier and a round brush. I use on product in the end to keep my hair from frizzing out and 1 bottle of the stuff lasts me over a year and a half. So it’s a tradeoff no matter what. Obviously, there’s a way to overdo long hair by having all kinds of contraptions in place. However, I prefer the longer style to my lifestyle and time crunch – all in all, it seems to be better suited to me.

  24. posted by Ana on

    My hair is four feet long. I have very straight hair, and nothing is easier for me than keeping it long. People never believe me, but it is ridiculously cheap and easy to care for. I trim it once a year (15 min, free, mom does it), I wash it once a week (5 minutes), I brush it once a day (1 minute), most days I twist it into a low bun, stab a couple sticks in and I’m done (1-2 minutes). I never blowdry, I use product a couple times a year. I go through one bottle of shampoo and four bottles of conditioner a year (<$15). I have a fairly large collection of hair sticks and scrunchies and stuff, but it all fits fine in a couple tubs. Plus, I have a lot of options for what I want to do with my hair on a given day, from fancy braids to a simple nape of the neck ponytail. If I don’t want to, I don’t have to do anything, long hair flowing loose is its own decoration.

    If people want short hair because they like how it looks or it’s easier for them, that’s fine. I happen to like long hair on men and women, but that’s just me, and everyone has their taste. But this myth about long hair taking more work always baffles me. Hair is pretty easy to take care of, short or long. What takes work is living up to some externally imposed ideal of beauty or style.

  25. posted by allen on

    To save $ on shampoo & haircuts, and to save time in the morning, i also cut my hair short. Of course, i’m a man, so i don’t have to deal with the social stigma (based on your location, and social network/interaction), and i also don’t have to do ANY styling. I bought a hair-razor at Sears for about $30, and every months i use the 1/2 inch attachment to shear my hair down to that, all over my head. Luckily, i can get away with that with my skull!

  26. posted by Kris on

    Cutting hair is giving up on being feminine.


  27. posted by Katie on

    Since I’m not interested in getting a short haircut, I’d be interested in some suggestions of how to keep the hair stuff I do have to minimal clutter… how do people organize the stuff in their bathrooms? (Maybe a topic for another day…)

  28. posted by Erinc on

    Shaving my head for last three years has been biggest time saver for me. It takes less time to shover, get ready to go somewhere. Since I have hair clipper and shave my head myself, I save gas / time / money with not going to barber every other week. i agree that it’s not for everyone, but if it fits you it’s the best thing ever πŸ˜‰ I totally support this recommendation.

  29. posted by Maria on

    I’d love to go really short, but my face shape just won’t have it. I have a jaw like Brad Pitt–not so hot on a woman!

  30. posted by Arlene on

    I went short years ago, but truthfully, I’m a little sorry about that now. Wish I’d had the self-discipline to grow it longer when it was still thick, shiny, and glossy. Alas, it’s too late for that now.

    I also had the Bathroom Hair Styling Collection of (mainly) Failed Control Devices for much of my adult life, as I struggled to find a way to grow my hair that wasn’t hideous. Most of these are long gone. Just a little gel, a few combs and brushes, and an emergency pair of bangs-trimming scissors are what remains.

    Short hair when cut beautifully is a dream (at least for the first month), but when cut badly it is a nightmare. If you have “easy” long hair count your blessings and don’t change a thing.

    For the rest of us, there’s Wahl clippers and SuperCuts.

    Isn’t it pitiful that a little dead protein can cause us so much agony?

  31. posted by The DT on

    Or you could just go bald. It sure would eliminate that pesky hair dryaer :P.

  32. posted by The DT on

    Or you could just go bald. It sure would eliminate that pesky hair dryer :P.

  33. posted by The DT on

    Oops, I tried to correct a typo, and it got reposted. Sorry, everyone.

  34. posted by Ryan on

    Wish I could say I took your advice, but I buzzed my hair off just before I read this article.

    Course I don’t use blow dryers, curling irons, hairspray, moose, rollers, straighteners or anything like that. Just hair gel to make it look at least a little bit tidy for work.

    You women and your curling irons. πŸ˜›

  35. posted by Ryan on

    Oh, and I didn’t mean to use that extremely happy face on my post.

    Farking smileys . . .

  36. posted by Carol on

    Thanks for this topic and the discussion that followed Erin, it has given me food for thought.

    As someone who cannot abide sitting in a claustrophobic hair salon thick with the stench of hair treatment and styling chemicals wondering if I’ll manage to draw another breath, and if I do just what that breath will actually consist of, I really wonder how asthmatics get by.

  37. posted by Mellon on

    I have super curly hair that gets super frizzy as the day goes on. Bc I like to keep it longer, my solution is to get rid of the blow dryer but keep the flat iron. I pull it in pigtails to air dry (usually) then iron it. Then I only wash it once a week or so.

    I very much appreciate this post. I hate mess and complication, and I’ve spent years being annoyed by the not being able to just wake up, run a brush through it, and leave mop of curls. It’s not about self-acceptance, etc, but just about ease.

  38. posted by Andamom on

    Goodness… There certainly are a number of people who feel strongly about this subject. And if I might interject here — it makes me laugh that many people only comment when they disagree with a posting — not appreciate and benefit from what is being written. –That’s just food for thought…

    Now onto hair. My hair is thick and curly and I would rather not deal with it. Frequently, it gets swept into a pony tail because that gets it off my face. To actually do my hair and have it stay nice, I need products and time…

    My daughter, a teenager, spends an inordinate amount of time on her hair daily. She needs a straightener and product to get it to do what she needs. Then, she puts barrettes and tie backs into the hair to finish the look.

    I did buy a buzzer awhile back though so that I could trim my husband’s hair. It has saved us a considerable amount of money. I wrote about it on my blog awhile back:

  39. posted by ysabet on

    How I wish I could take your advice … But for me, it just wouldn’t work. I have curly/wavy red hair, currently down to my shoulderblades (I got it cut ‘short’ recently, and oh dear me, what a silly thing that was).

    However, I know what my hair would do when short, as I’ve got two examples of that in my family tree – my father and brother. My brother deals with it by having very short hair most of the time – too short to even comb, let alone style. Dad deals with it by carrying a comb everywhere. They get haircuts roughly every 5 weeks.

    I have long hair, and I think I spend significantly less time on my hair than either of them. I wash it (only the crown of my head) once a week, and condition it at the same time. A rinse in the morning, followed by leave-in conditioner, and whatever 2minute style takes my fancy that day … and I’m done. Total time spent a day: ~5mins. 15 on the weekend when I wash and condition. I get my hair cut maybe every 6 months, although sometimes I forget and go a year.

    I have a small container which contains two clips, a toothy clasp, and several ponytail holders of various sizes. I have a cup in which lives the combined hairstyling equipment – wide-toothed, fine, detangling comb and a hairbrush. I have a hairdryer for when I actually need one (roughly 2x year).

    I do regularly clean out my old product, though, and throw out what I don’t regularly use, because clutter gets to me.

  40. posted by Gette on

    I envy you people with naturally straight hair. I have hair that can’t decide to be wavy or straight and manages a combination of both so it’s neither here nor there. Don’t get me started on taming it!

    Earlier this year, I had my shoulder length hair straightened and wondered why I didn’t think of it earlier. For at least 6 months, I didn’t have to brush it because it just falls into place when I get out of bed. Maintenance is just wash and air dry. I’ve gone off on overnight trips with no hair products (not even a comb) and it’s beautifully fuss-free.

    It’s entering its 8th month now and the only reason I have to start fussing with it again is because my natural hair is growing out. I’m definitely going to get it straightened again in a couple of months.

  41. posted by Anne on

    Having had my curly hair short and now long, I prefer having long hair. When it was short I shampooed/conditioned it daily, used more styling products, and had it cut every 5-6 weeks. I finally decided to grow it long and my amazing stylist worked with me to keep my hair looking good at all the in-between lengths.

    Now that it’s shoulder length, I wash it once or twice a week. Maybe a rinse in the morning if it’s out of control, some leave-in conditioner/styling cream (I found an amazing Garnier product), a spritz of Devacurl and that’s it. On really rushed mornings, I can just throw it up in a French twist and it looks fine. Couldn’t do that when I had short curly hair, which looked like leftover linguini unless I washed and styled it daily. I only blow dry in the dead of winter, and I NEVER brush it. I find my hands the best styling tools!

    Everything’s a trade-off!

  42. posted by clodia on

    I think it’s amusing that so many people seem to take the suggestions offered here as orders.

    That being said – I love my long hair, even if I don’t style it every day. I love having the ability to make it super curly or sleek, or just put it in a bun. My hair is very thick and would require more styling if I didn’t leave it long.

    It is a good suggestion – I can imagine it would be easy to just not think about doing something different with your hair. And assuming you get the right haircut, it can make you look better, and could be a lot easier!

  43. posted by Kelsey on

    I’ve had long hair and relatively short hair. I think either style can mean less work and clutter, depending on your hair type.

    I also have the straight in some places, wavy/curly in others thing going on. For me, shorter hair means less drying and straightening time. I keep the overall time commitment to a minimum by washing and styling it every other day.

  44. posted by Cassie on

    I suspect that this “short” rule depends on the type of hair your have. I personally don’t like getting up in the morning to shower quickly. I’m a leisure bath at night girl. That said, I can have a bath, leave my hair to dry naturally and sleep on wet hair over night.

    With short hair…you are FORCED to do it every morning. Long hair? Optional. πŸ™‚

    So if someone has a really good answer to the clutter of irons that I’m not ready to give up…I’d love to hear those suggestions!

  45. posted by Carol on

    In answer to Cassie’s question:

  46. posted by Annie on

    Congratulations, Erin, on decluttering another aspect of your life. I seasonally go through hair products and pass them along to people who will actually use them.

  47. posted by JenK on

    Like Clodia said, “I think it’s amusing that so many people seem to take the suggestions offered here as orders.”

    The principles here?
    – If you’re tired of the upkeep on something (like hair) don’t be afraid to change it.
    – Do what works for you, not what works for others. (Example: The only time I’ve straightened my curls in the last 20 years was for a 70s-themed costume party. Others find straightening to be wonderful.)
    – If you aren’t using a possession (curling iron, hairbands, scrunchies) and you don’t smile when you see it, it might be time to give it up.

    The principles are of use to most folks. The specific example of cutting hair short works for Erin – just as my condition, gel, twist or french-braid or hairband routine works for my shoulder-length hair.

  48. posted by Molly on

    Yes! I cut mine off a year or so ago, and while this isn’t why, I’ve definitely noticed the minimalism effect.

    Three hairbrushes
    Two combs
    Just-in-case hairdryer
    Just-in-case travel hairdryer
    A whole drawer full of clips, bands, scrunchies, weird hair-trapping inventions, etc

    Small container of gel

    It’s changed my life! Also, it really helps my gaydar. πŸ˜‰

  49. posted by Anna on

    I think this is great advice for decluttering / simplifying, but it comes with a social cost – both men and women, but especially men, will treat you differently if you’re a girl and you have short hair.

    I’ve had both long and short hair, for years at a time respectively, and I noticed a significant improvement in the way people warmed to me when I grew my hair out. I was no longer threatening to them, and I fit their opinion of what a girl “should” look like. Yes I know it’s all terribly stereotypical, but people make instant judgements based on stereotypes, and so deviating from them has a price.

    Yes I found my short hair faster to wash and dry, and yes it caused slightly less clutter, but it’s no-where near worth the social ‘cost’. Now with my long hair I just invest in a good quality cut and highlights every few months, and I wash it every few nights after tea and let it dry naturally before I go to sleep. The next morning I can either wear it out – super quick and simple – or ponytail it, or put it up in a clip, all fast and effective options.

  50. posted by Audrey on

    I have thick hair to my mid-back that takes at least 30 minutes to wash, blow dry and tie up. I am so ready to make the cut. I can stop using my hair as an excuse to not hit the gym before work.

  51. posted by Ethel on

    I think there is a great lesson here – style decisions can impact clutter. However, I don’t think short hair is a universal answer.

    Like the author, I chose my hairstyle partly to eliminate time and space clutter. Unlike the author but like an earlier poster, long hair accomplishes this goal for me. My shoulder-blade length, naturally wavy hair doesn’t even need to be brushed daily as long as I minimize hair washing (for natural oils) and condition regularly. I re-cut my face-framing layers about once every three months (when I re-dye, I like my hair red) and cut layers into the rest of it about once a year. Short hair, by way of contrast, needs styling and monthly cutting to continue to work well for me.

  52. posted by ScottMGS on

    Next time your hair gets long and you decide to cut it, see if you can donate it to Locks of Love.

  53. posted by Edward on

    Fellas, My brother shaves his head and the bathroom is cluttered with the accessories he needs to keep this look. Razors out the wazoo, lotions, soaps, etc. Don’t be fooled, shaving your head clutters your life, not the other way round.

  54. posted by lahope on

    I have my hair straightened every 6-9 months at a salon in Koreatown (LA) that uses the Japanese strightening process. It takes about 4 hours, but the result is excellent and very low maintainence. It can cost from $150 in Koreatown to $600 in Beverly Hills. I first discovered it when I was in the Wella testing program and they tested it on me. I haven’t looked back!

    If you want to throw away the razor consider laser hair removal. It can be expensive, because multiple treatments are needed until all the regrowth is zapped, but the result is well worth it–I haven’t needed a razor in years!

  55. posted by Liz on

    As one of the very short haired girls, i agree (in part) with Anna’s post re the social cost.
    Yes, people treat you differently, but where i disagree with her is that I honestly think it is worth it. I am so so so much happier with my new hair, (and yes, so much less time and effort and clutter!) i think of it this way – if someone is going to treat me differently (badly) because i have short hair, well then i’d rather they do that so i know what a jack*$$ they really are. I’ll just go and find someone who isnt quite so shallow and backwards regarding female hair styling and what it says about us :).
    Continuing my rant…I think our society, for all it’s being modern and supportive of women, is still a little sexist if they make a huge deal about a female celebrity getting their hair cut short. Especially if they aren’t lesbian. Who honestly cares who they jump in bed with, and whether their haircut is implying anything in that regard. On some people, yes, short hair IS unattractive. But on others it looks good. This is what it should be about. Not a dumb generalisation about the woman’s sexuality or the whole female world looking good or bad with a certain type of ‘do.

  56. posted by Len on

    I keep my head shaved cause it saves me a boatload of time. I keep a razor, mirror, bar of soap, shaving cream, toothbrush and toothpaste in the shower and that’s about it. Talk about unclutter πŸ˜‰

    Not to mention it only takes me 5 minutes every other day to do if I stay on top of it vs. the 15-30 minutes daily I used to spend tending to hair.

    Oddly enough for facial hair I employ a completely different tactic. I keep a beard so I only shave from the jawline down daily and once a week I’ll take a couple of extra minutes with an electric razor (w/ attached adjustable guard so I don’t have 10+ attachments) and a pair of scissors to keep the beard looking neat.

    I saved myself a few hours a week when I first started this and the idea of going back is frightening lol!

  57. posted by elrj on

    I, like other readers, was surprised at this post. Having had long hair most of my life, the few times I have had cute short cuts I was surprised at the increase in amount of time I was required to spend on my short haircuts. To me, despite the plethora of bobby-pins and hair-clips (all of which I keep in one pretty box on my dresser… once the hair “items” outgrow the box, I toss a few until they are containable again), long hair is much lower maintainance than short; and I even have nice natural wave! I know several up-dos which are attractive that I wear alternately to the office, all of which take less than a minute, and leave my hair soft and wavy for the even if/when I want to let my hair down. Maybe it was just lack of experience, but if my hair wasn’t cooperating when it was short I didn’t have the option to “put it away” in a pony-tail or bun; I usually just went for a scarf and hoped it would grow out soon!

  58. posted by jillyoli on

    thin hair looks terrible if it’s long….like a witch. I would LOVE to have long, long hair to tie up in a chignon bun but my hair is WAAAAY to thin for that. I’ve found that a little below chin length is best for my thin, straight hair.

    I envy you ladies who can get it cut once a year and wear long hair with endless style. (long hair pulled up nicely NEVER goes out of style by the way)

    Happy blowdrying!

  59. posted by jon on

    Speaking as a male, I switched to a buzz cut several years ago. I did it becasue I was cycling a lot in summer and my old cut was too sweaty in the cycle helmet. So I had it shaved and have never looked back.

    I used to go the hairdressers and pay Β£5+ to to have a 3 & 2, that is #3 on top, #2 on the sides. But after having the trainees bash my head about and charge me Β£12 for a bad cut (how can you cut hair badly when all you are doing is running a trimmer through it??!!), I decided to go DIY. I bought an electric cordless trimmer, only Β£15 from Boots, and now I sit on the edge of the bath, leaning in, and just buzz cut a #2 all over with one hand and feel the result with the other. It takes about 10 or 15 minutes, I do it in the evening and catch any missed hairs in the morning in different light. It took a little practice, but now it’s easy and very quick.

    I also use the trimmer for my chin hair, which is very easy and safe, and so I haven’t clean shaved for a couple of years now (more time saved!).

    In fact, I’ve saved much more than just money. I do not have to make a special trip to get my cut, I don’t have to hang around waiting my turn, I don’t have a shirt full of itchy bits of cut hair to clean out, and best of all, my hair stays neatly cut all the time. Whenever I realise it is taking a little too long to dry, I know I need another cut. So I cut every 3 or 4 weeks now instead of every 6 or 8 weeks when I could find the time to make a trip out to the hairdresser.

    Do yourself a favour and buy a set of trimmers, and whip it off, ALL OFF!!

  60. posted by Harris on

    WOW! Lots of info….everyone has a “best haircut” for their life and look. Sometimes it takes some time to find it but when you do, stay with it. Life is too short to be obsessed with anything!

  61. posted by KhΓΌrt Williams on

    Erin, I think we could all have benefitted from a before and after photo.

  62. posted by Julie Andrea on

    Hello! Like some of the others here, I don’t agree that short hair is more frugal. Funny, Mum and I were just discussing this yesterday.

    My hair is long and straight, all one length, no bangs, no layers. I get it trimmed maybe once or twice a year at a cheapie salon for $12.00. If I don’t like the colour, I dump a couple of boxes of home colour on it, total cost about $20.00. I no longer need to pay for cuts every 4 – 6 weeks, perms, highlights, bang trims, etc. I can wear my hair up in a lovely clip (found at the dollar store or can go expensive with handmade clips), wear a headband (I have tons of them, from casual to lace covered), or in a scrunchie, or pinned back at the sides or loose and flowing. The best thing I ever did was grow out the layers and the bangs.

    Of course most hair stylists want you in short hair with layers, that way you are back in their chair every six weeks and hair cuts cost way too much, plus a tip, plus my time and energy – it’s just not a frugal option for me.

  63. posted by Linda on

    I have very sexy, longish, layered (and colored) hair. It is well worth the cost and the “stuff” to maintain it in my opinion. I’m 50 and look about 38, thanks to good genetics and the best hair stylist (IMO) in our area. I have a very high profile career and interact with people all day. Looking good helps me feel confident.

    Appearance (and how to maintain it) is a very personal (and obviously highly emotionally charged) issue. There is no right or wrong here; it is purely a case of “whatever floats your boat.”

  64. posted by Teresa on

    If you have long hair and decide to cut it consider donating it to “beautiful lengths” or “locks of love” I cut my hair for donation every spring and let it regrow. You cannot donate your hair if it has been chemically straightened, colored or permed. Because I want to donate I keep it healthy by using only a light styling gel, shampoo and conditioner. I have a simple short bob for the summer that looks good as it grows longer. I save so much money on hair stuff and cuts now. My stylist cuts my hair for free because I am donating it.

  65. posted by Meghan on

    As some others have commented – I also disagree that cutting your hair short saves you time, space, and money. It completely depends on the person. I cut my long hair off (and donated it to Locks of Love) a year and a half ago. When it was really long, I was told how beautiful my hair looked and to never cut it. I would wash it – and that was it! Sometimes I would go for weeks without brushing. But, when I cut it short, my wavy, fine, incredibly thin hair made me look like an unkempt little boy if I didn’t spend time blow drying, styling, pinning it down, etc… I keep my hair long now mainly in the interest of saving time in the morning.

  66. posted by Meghan on

    Oh! And I also forgot – in terms of short hair saving you money – if you have short hair – you have to get it cut every 6 weeks. Long hair – you can go as long as 4 months. A girl in my office can’t believe I spend $50 on a good haircut – but I don’t go more than 3 times a year. She has really really short hair (think gymnast style) and spends $30 every six weeks on mediocre haircuts. So in the end, she spends almost double what I do and doesn’t look as good.

  67. posted by CO on

    It’s definitely best to keep all hair short.

  68. posted by Peregrin on

    Yeah, I look terrible with short hair. I have long, straight, fine hair that I simply wash and air-dry in the morning, then style with a headband or hair clips and hairspray. I may not sport the latest, trendiest hairstyle, but who cares? I like my long hair and intend to keep it that way till I die. πŸ˜€

  69. posted by Amanda on

    My hair is very fine, not exactly luxuriant, and it does NOTHING. It won’t even take a perm… three hours after leaving the stylist, it’s as flat as ever. So I gave up and left it long and straight. It takes me approximately 2 minutes to “do” my hair: gather the top section, brush smoothly, and braid (this method spreads the tension evenly across the top of the head, so you don’t get ponytail headaches or pulling at the front hairline). Gather the braid and the back hair, twist into a bun, and clip with an octopus clip. Added benefit is that I don’t have a lot of hair “stuff”. Cleanser, brush, clip, sharp scissors for my quarterly trim. That’s it. If I really feel it needs conditioning, I have eggs and coconut oil in the kitchen. I love it because it’s neat, easy, and professional enough for work. Also, since I’m not putting loads of stuff in my hair and not having to touch it frequently during the day, I can skip a wash and still have it look decent–a great thing on those mornings where nothing goes right and my kid’s velcroed to my leg. πŸ™‚

  70. posted by Diana on

    I read with interest that a few of the ladies with long hair only shampoo once a week. My hair is thick and curly. It has been every length, from pixie to med-back, but is currently just above my shoulders. I’m gleefully headed back to the shop this a.m. for a nice, short(er) cut & color. When it’s long it’s unruly as heck, takes foreEEVER to dry and gets all tangled. Long thick, curly hair is a real problem for athletics: I mountain bike and work out regularly. If I only shampoo’d weekly my scalp would uhh… REEK! And ITCH!! Plus I fear head lice–> EWWW!!!

    Ok, maybe that was a bit extreme, but short and simple works best for my hair type and my lifestyle. A little gel, a little scrunch, and I’m good to go.

  71. posted by Louise on

    A crew cut works best for me, and it definitely saves time and money. I cut it myself with Wahl clippers, which cost us about $40, a one time expense. My husband also uses the clippers for his haircut.

    We live full-time in our RV and are rarely any place long enough to visit the same hair salon twice, so I have eliminated the hassle of finding a new stylist over and over.

    My hair looks exactly the same, morning, noon and night: short and chic. No combing, no brushing. No clips, bands, barrettes to buy or store. No gels, sprays, mousses.

    In addition to our RV, we have two 150cc scooters. I always ride wearing a helmet, and my hair is completely unfazed by the brain bucket. No “hairdo by Honda” for me! Even more conventional short hair gets flattened in a helmet, but the crew cut does not.

    Best of all, I get compliments everywhere I go from complete strangers. Literally hundreds of women have told me they wish they were “brave” enough to cut their hair this short. It’s too bad that people are afraid to even try a radical, yet completely reversible change like really short hair. What have you got to lose?

  72. posted by Sooz on

    @Louise, I admire your willingness to have carefree and even “helmet-proof” hair — I can see where that would be very freeing! But my answer to your question “What have you got to lose?” is: my sanity, if the look doesn’t suit me & I need to wait for my hair to grow back! πŸ™‚

  73. posted by Louise on

    @Sooz: I could say something all zen and wise about letting go of the clutter of relating your looks to your sanity, but I think it would sound flippant and I don’t want to minimize your feelings. But! We usually regret more later the things we DIDN’T do, rather than the things we did πŸ™‚

  74. posted by Sooz on

    @Louise, thanks for your considerateness, which I *do* appreciate, but I think I didn’t express myself clearly. It’s not about relating my *looks* to my sanity, it’s about *waiting-for-hair-to-grow-back* and my sanity!

    For me, the growing-back-in period, from when the hair is long enough to be in my face (which I can’t stand) to when it’s finally long enough to pull back into a ponytail to keep it out of my face, is awful. After a childhood plagued by a hairstyle that drove me nuts (but Mom thought it looked cute!), I grew my hair in at age 18 and have never regretted it once.

    For myself, the ultimate “uncluttering” is that I don’t think about my hair beyond the simple business of washing it & combing it into a ponytail. The length is just about to the bottom of my shoulder-blades. I trim the ponytail at home every few months… that takes about 1 minute to do. If I have to go somewhere dressy, I twist the ponytail up and put in some sparkly clips, and that’s it!

    PS: @Diana: I also only shampoo my hair once a week. My scalp is not oily, so if I wash my hair more often, I’m essentially wasting both time & shampoo.

  75. posted by Mike on

    I understand where John in Indiana is coming from, saying short hair is a signal that the woman does not want to look feminine. Long hair has been a talisman of femininity and fertility for centuries, so it’s unrealistic to expect a man, even in today’s modern world, not to be at least somewhat attuned to that. It’s just the way men are wired.

    That said, it’s true that women CAN cut their hair short and still look good. It’s just that most of those that cut their hair short seem to end the process there and give up on still keeping up the appearance. It’s the same as a guy who gets a crew cut but then instead of brushing it up evenly and keeping it trim, just uses it as an excuse to have an unkempt mat of fur atop his dome. If you’ve ever walked through a Costco on a Saturday morning and seen some of the soccer moms ambling about there, you know what I mean. I don’t expect them to dress up like a night at the opera — it’s just that, wow, they really do come off dumpy with those flat, close-cut noggins on top of everything else.

    In my wife’s case, she has an extra disadvantage: if she cuts her hair short, she looks almost exactly like her brother. And even her friends have told her this. I kept it light, joking that “as much as I like the guy, I don’t think my being married to him would work out.” The compromise we reached is that if she keeps her hair a little longer the way I like it, I return the favor by keeping MY hair the way SHE likes it — short and sharply trimmed. Turnabout is fair play, after all.

  76. posted by Carol on

    Well, I’ve had my hair cut super-short (not crew cut short, but about like Halle Berry’s shortest do, and no, I’m not quite as hot as Halle Berry!) off an on over the years. More so on, recently. I’ve also had it really long, and can attest to the “ease” of long hair – fewer haircuts, the ponytail option, etc. But what it’s come down to for me is I just didn’t have that kind of long hair I could let air dry – it didn’t look great at the end, and it took forever, since there’s a lot of it.

    Anyway, my point being: any decision like this is about what you value. I value looking put-together, and I value not having to worry about my hair. I value not having a lot of crap in my bathroom, and I value not doing my hair one way only to walk out into the humidity and have it become completely different hair.

    I value being attractive to the opposite sex (men), and yet I really don’t value being with someone whose attraction to me might vary depending on how my hair is cut. I don’t care if men are wired to like women with long hair, I want one for whom my appeal doesn’t depend on hair length. Will that be harder to find? I suspect so. I don’t care. I’d rather be alone than have to worry about this.

    See now – to a lot of people that would be nuts. Alone! What’s that! But I just can’t believe that my relationship happiness depends on my hairstyle. So it’s scary to have short hair, but feels like that good scary. Like skydiving. Which wouldn’t tangle my nice short hair…

  77. posted by phillippq on

    i need to disagree here. i alternate very reguarly between short and long hair (grow it long enough to ponytail/braid, chop it to the chin..and so on). My routines go like this:
    Long hair: Wake up, ponytail or braid it. I don’t wash my hair everyday (and actually, the less you wash it with shampoo, the less oily it is). When I do wash, I wash, towel dry and go.

    Now that I have short hair again, every morning is a bad hair morning, so I wash, put in stuff for pre-blow drying. and the blow dry and style at the same time with a brush, apply stuff to manipulate and hold the style.

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